With the exception of a few workout junkies and sports enthusiasts, it is safe to assume that no one enjoys long strenuous hours at the gym. As effective as they are sure to be, there is something so unappealing about these compulsory cardio workouts that soon enough, treadmills, dumbbells and the like feel more like torture devices. The reason why these strict workout regimens fail is because they are usually demotivating, dull and devoid of pleasure. But while fun and equally efficient alternatives are few and far between, dance is quickly turning into a legitimate sport that is incorporated in gymnastics and martial arts.

The Secret is in the Movement

Known as beat-based fitness, dance fitness offers the best of both worlds, camouflaging conventional exercise routines in fun dance moves. This reinvented form of art is gaining favor with everyone because the body seems to naturally progress towards a better, healthier shape. Colombian dancer and choreographer Alberto Perez was the first to realize that. In the 1990s, Perez created the Zumba, a dance fitness program that combines international music with dance. Using music as the key ingredient, Zumba workout routines alternate between fast and slow rhythms as well as resistance training. The program provides fitness benefits because it borrows from different dance styles including Salsa, Belly dancing, tango and even hip hop, transitioning the workout from one toning or cardio move to another and targeting every major muscle group in the body.

I Feel Like Dancin’!

But belly dancing wins the title for providing an overall body workout. In addition to strengthening the back and the muscles of the pelvic floor as well as toning the hips and thighs, this dance style does its best work in toning the abdominal flab and developing core strength. For flat abs, dancing experts have developed a ten-minute belly dance routine that targets our body’s most obnoxious areas. Split into one and a half minute intervals, the routine starts off with the rib slide, a move consisting of placing the hands on the hips and moving the ribs side to side and through the center of the torso. Similar to an abdominal crunch, the rib slide targets the rectus abdominus, the core vertical muscle on each side of the abdomen. The hip circle, which entails moving the hips in a circular motion clockwise and counterclockwise while arms are slightly lifted, makes for a great substitute for painful squats. The routine also includes other moves to further develop the abdomen’s core strength.

 

Aside from it being a fun alternative for routine workouts, dancing also has the added benefit for our mental activity as it tests our coordination skills and alertness. It seems there is no downside to shaking it all the way to a healthier mind and body.